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Delta Maintenance Question  
User currently offlineSkibum9 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1229 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4406 times:

In the past month, I have been on four Delta flights, in which three were delayed due to maintenance issues. In all three cases, I was at major Delta airports for two of them, CVG and MCO, and the third was at EWR, not a major presence for Delta. In all three cases the maintenance issue was minor (battery problem, pressurization leak, and fuel leak), but in all three the airline was not sure if they had the appropriate tools, equipment or parts to fix the problems quickly, adding to the delay.

So I am curious if anyone knows if Delta is 1) minimizing its inventory of spare parts, and/or 2) reducing some of the non-mandatory maintenance in an attempt to cut costs?

Also, does Delta have an inventory system to track what parts and equipment are where? It seems they never know where the parts are when needed.

I find it a little more than coincidence that 75% of my last four flights have had maintenance issues, in which I was delayed in CVG for two hours, EWR for 6 hours and MCO for 3 hours.


Tailwinds!!!
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBILLAMT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4379 times:

I really can't speak for DL, but I highly doubt they are skimping on MX. What do you consider non-manditory? I really can't think of anything at my carrier that is non-mandatory. I think thats a common misconception regarding MX. Every airline has their own program in place, and everything we do is mandatory. Sounds like you've simply had bad luck.

Also, the aircraft dosen't have to break to cause a MX delay. I've seen paperwork issues result in very lengthy ordeals.

[Edited 2004-06-07 01:10:10]

User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4343 times:

Few if any airlines keep large stock rooms at 'out stations'. They are costly to maintain and as luck would have it, the part you'll need is never in stock at the station where the plane breaks. Many parts in aviation have very limited 'shelf life. Shelf life is the amount of time an airline can keep a part on its parts shelf without: 1) needing to destroy the part, or.. 2) return a part for recertification. Many glues or sealants can be as short as just a few weeks. O'rings or seals may be just 1 year or so. Screws that we can buy at Home Depot for .05 and airline will pay $7 each just to have the PMA tag. Also, airlines are taxed yearly of all shelved stock items weather the part is used or not. When you have a part that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, you want as few as needed to get the job done so you don't get taxed to death at the end of the year.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineDl757md From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1562 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4337 times:

Skibum9

First of all let me apologize for any inconvenience caused by these delays.
But rest assured Delta is not skimping on MX. You have had a run of bad luck in that 3 out 4 of your Delta flights in the last month have had MX delays. This is not normal as Delta's fleetwide TDR (technical dispatch rate) hovers around 98%.
In all three cases the maintenance issue was minor (battery problem, pressurization leak, and fuel leak)

While I would characterize the battery problem as minor, in that it should been able to be changed quickly, the press. leak and the fuel leak are, if out of serviceable limits, No-Go items.
In the case of the fuel leak, if it were a tank leak it requires a special crew of which Delta only has at ATL, DFW, and TPA. These crews require lots of special training and equipment and would have to have been flown in.
If it were an engine fuel line leak there would have been qualified MX personnel at the station, but not necessarily the parts.

The pressurization leak takes time but usually not much in the way of special equipment unless there is structural damage requiring sheetmetal repair.

So I am curious if anyone knows if Delta is 1) minimizing its inventory of spare parts

It usually boils down to parts. Most if not all airlines have tried to streamline their parts inventory using JIT (just in time) inventory management. Rather than stocking every part at all places needed, they stock one or a few at a central location ready to ship where it's needed. It is sometimes taken a step further and not stocked at all and ordered when needed from a supplier. It's a great theory but it doesn't work so well at preventing long MX delays.

Also, does Delta have an inventory system to track what parts and equipment are where? It seems they never know where the parts are when needed.
Yes, Delta does have an inventory tracking system for parts. Shipping parts is usually the delay.


and/or 2) reducing some of the non-mandatory maintenance in an attempt to cut costs?

As for reducing MX to cut costs. Delta, like any Part 121 carrier, has a MX program that is designed in cooperation with the FAA and the AC manufacturer.
Everything has to be approved by the FAA. That being said, the program is being revised on a constant basis. I don't know that economical conditions aren't a factor in the frequency of preventative MX, but I do know that if they are, the safety of the operation remains the paramount consideration in MX planning. The TDR may suffer and pax may be inconvenienced but safety is NEVER compromised.






757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1761 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4205 times:
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To toss my coupla cents in the ring ...

I've put some 30k+ MQM's on Delta this year alone (so far) and posted some 27k in the last six months of last year since I started traveling regularly.

That's a fairly significant chunk of flying.

Of all those flights, I've had a grand total of THREE major delays.

Two were due to weather (flights into/out of NYC airspace) and one was due to a MD-88 that "broke the landing gear" upon landing in PHL.

In the broken landing gear case (and mind you, to my very untrained eye, it looked just fine sitting there when we finally left - but I fix computers, not airplanes) DL sent a new plane from Atlanta to pick us up for the trip home, resulting in about a 2 hour delay.

Minor MX delays are just part of the game - airplanes are very complex machines and things break. Sometimes it's not as easy to fix as they first think. If you fly enough, you'll run into 'em.

And to be frank, I'd rather they find them and fix them (however long it takes) then try to fly anyway. Flying on broken airplanes just asks for trouble - and has in the past caused some major incidents and indeed some crashes.

Also note that Delta sent me an apology letter for the PHL flight, stressing exactly that -- while they were sorry for the extreme delay they wanted to stress that at ALL times the safety of the passenger is ALWAYS paramount.

Personally, I don't mind waiting. It may not be what I was expecting when I bought the ticket, but I'd much rather get there safely than the much worse alternative.

- litz


User currently offlineSkibum9 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1229 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4081 times:

Thanks for the replies,

To your point Litz, I have over 165k MQM this year already, and close to that in total last year. So I too have a pretty significant chunk of flying on Delta during the last year. The one thing that I have noticed about Delta over the past few years, is that its service quality has declined significantly. No longer is it the premier American airline that it was once positioned as. The interiors of the planes are starting to look very tired and worn, which is understandable given the financial problems the company is having. If I recall, when United started to have financial problems, they had an incident where duct tape was found on one of the wing as some sort of patch. (don't recall the details) This incident started many questioning the maintenance of United while under financial instability. So given the deterioration of Delta's service, and the unusual number of delays that I have had over the last month, it would be a natural question.

Thanks again for all your responses.



Tailwinds!!!
User currently offlineDl021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4061 times:
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Skibum9 Well, you have my MQM accumulation beat all to heck YTD, you must be flying every other day at last minute, full fare rates to accumulate that much, because I have been in the air about once a week since January and only have about thirty k miles (I get the cheapest fares my travel agent can find, usually lower than I can find myself, so DL gives me half credit for most of those miles  Sad ), but I have been flying and in the travel business all my life (literally) and I will share that the more people fly the more things can irritate them, and the more they notice the little things that the average traveller does not. It does not reduce the significance for you, indeed these things can irritate me as well. I have noticed a general decline in service from all airlines, not just DL, and it is a fact of life that the older the airplane is the mroe wear and tear it will show, and some of DL's birds are coming up on twenty five or so years of age. I think this is a result from the transition in the business is competing with each other and the lcc's with the cut throat fares. The result of the greater affordability is lower standards of appearance and service, and the airline that figures this out first and repairs their image to the greatest degree will be the one making the most money.

BTW, what do you do to fly that much? 165k mqm is a ton in six months...is it international or domestic? Do you notice any difference in the service between the two? I'd like to hear about you thoughts on this?



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSkibum9 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1229 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4016 times:

DI021,

I work for a software company with customers spread all over the world. So I have to travel almost weekly. A mix of international and domestic. Our company standard is business class for anything over 5 hours, or international. Mostly I travel to Europe and Brazil, with each trip good for about 15-20,000 MQMs. Domestically, I do a lot of coast hopping, and north-south. Nothing under 2 hours usually.

I really do not notice any difference with the rate of decline in service between domestic and international. Both have declined. Even thought DL has BusinessElite, it is no longer competitive to other airlines' business class offerings. At one time, when first introduced, BusinessElite was a great product, but DL has not kept up with the times. Among the North American airlines, NW has a better business product, but internationally, nothing can compare to Singapore. Just my thoughts. I really miss the days when airlines really catered to the business traveler.

If you thought my miles are a ton for six months, a few weeks ago, I met a guy that accumulated 850K miles in one year. He traveled international every week and said that in that year he went to 159 different countries. Can you imagine how full his passport is, even with added pages? The thing must be a book.



Tailwinds!!!
User currently offlineDl021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3985 times:
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Guys like that make me feel like a travel piker, I had to have pages added once, but did not have use more than a couple, that guy must have a hard time remembering where he lives.....I was talking to my sister who runs the commersial division of our family travel agency, and we figured you were doing business class international every week to get that. I knew a guy in Tampa who was flying to Toky, HK or SIngapore 4 times per month 1st class and accumulated some phenomenal miles. I too noticed how shabby some of the DL 767's are on the international flights lately, mainly the older ones, and I definitely noticed a difference between DL service and say Alitalia or Air France on the same equipment. It's a shame because DL used ot be known for superior service, and it is rather rare that I see that anymore. I notice the difference because last year I did very little travel, but had to pick back up this year and one can tell the deterioration if onelooks.

What I do know is that most folks do not seem to know the difference anymore, as the tourist crowd is looking for cheap tickets and drinks, and the business crowd seems to be willing to accept less comforts as long as the airfares stay low enough to fit their mandated budgets (which were the firat things to be cut a couple of years ago). My wife sends software guys all over, and where they used to think nothing of buying the tix, as the clients were paying, now they have to figure out how to do it cheaper because the clients want them to pay for travel, or limit the expenses.

Travel and airline costs are being squeezed everywhere and it is having a negative affect on service, the question is, who cares enough to pay more for tickets?



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
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